Woj: KB24's frustration with Lakers' struggles grows

Woj: KB24's frustration with Lakers' struggles grows

Postby KB24 on Tue Jan 22, 2013 4:00 am

CHICAGO – Everyone else on these Los Angeles Lakers had showered, dressed and bundled themselves to march out into the coldest night across the past two winters here. As the clock lurched past midnight in the losing locker room, the team bus gone, Kobe Bryant still wore his purple and gold jersey inside a tiny cubicle.

For some reason, he was holding onto one more night, one more loss, a little longer on Monday. He had marched past the Michael Jordan statue in the United Center, embraced Scottie Pippen courtside and understood he had never been so far away from those six championship banners hanging above him.

One more to go, and yet Monday night had been another cruel installment that Bryant no longer plays on a championship contender, that the parts, the system, the plan, is spiraling deeper and deeper into the abyss. Seven games under .500, four games out of the playoff picture and an unraveling in the final minutes of a 95-83 loss to the Chicago Bulls.

So far, these Lakers are a failure. So far, a bust.

"Obviously, this isn't working," Bryant told Yahoo! Sports.

Kobe Bryant and the Lakers have dropped to seven games below .500. (AP)It isn't working for Pau Gasol, who has lost his starting job to Earl Clark. It isn't working for Dwight Howard, who grumbled privately in the locker room over the truths on the stat sheet. Most of all, it isn't working for the Los Angeles Lakers, on course to be remembered as one of pro sports' biggest debacles.

On the issue of coach Mike D'Antoni stripping Gasol of his starting job, Bryant responded with a long, telling silence and smirk when pressed on whether he believed Gasol's benching made these Lakers a better basketball team.

On the issue of Howard's belief that the ball simply doesn't go through him enough on offense, Bryant rejected the premise.

"I've tried to go out of my way to get him the ball," Bryant told Y! Sports. "Sometimes I end up looking like an idiot, because I get up in the air, I've got a shot, but I try to find him. But he thinks I'm going to shoot, so his back is turned. I'm trying to think about getting him the ball a lot – take care of him as much as I possibly can. It takes me out of rhythm a little bit, but I'm fine with that. If that's going to help our team, I'm more than willing to do that."

When Howard did get the ball on Monday, he missed four of eight free throws. He let the Bulls strip him. He missed three of his five shots. His aggression seems to come and go, on offense and defense. Perhaps it's the back; perhaps it's something else.

"I've constantly tried to help him out, tried to talk to him," Bryant said. "Two o'clock in the morning, three o'clock in the morning. Texting him. Sharing reading materials. Anything to try and help him.

"He's coming off a major surgery in a market where it's just merciless; where there's demands and responsibilities of athletes. It's been tough on him."


Deep into the fourth quarter, within a basket, the Lakers crumbled to the Bulls. As one Western Conference assistant coach told Y! Sports, "If you just keep running your stuff, trust your offense, they will eventually break down on defense. You'll get what you want."

Dwight Howard had eight points, nine rebounds and four turnovers against the Bulls. (Getty Images)This speaks to D'Antoni's inability to cultivate an identity for these Lakers. Bryant wouldn't come right out and declare D'Antoni's system a failure, but he did speak to a need for the coach to find ways to flex everyone's strengths. D'Antoni has a long, stubborn history of forcing talent to fit into his system, and right now that is clearly playing a part in the unraveling of this season.

"We need to go back to basics," Bryant said. "We need to put guys in positions to do what they do best. We need to strip it down. Steve is best in pick-and-roll. Pau is best in the post. I'm best from the free-throw line extended down. Let's go back to basics.

"We've got to evaluate what's going on. Management is looking at it. The players are looking at it. I'm looking at myself. I'm shooting a low percentage right now, and I've got to look at that. It's on me to make shots, but I'm having to make tough shots, getting the ball 30 feet from the basket and [expletive] like that.

"Originally, teams would have to play our pick-and-roll coverage, which left me open on the back side quite a bit. But they've made adjustments, and they've decided to stay home on Kobe no matter what. So I'm trying to space the floor. I'm trying to do my job the best I can. I try to create opportunities. But most of them are trying to take the ball to the basket with four or five seconds left on the [shot] clock, trying to manufacture tough shots.

"Listen, no one is more critical of their game, of how they're playing, than I am. And right now, I've got to shoot at a higher percentage, have to play better. "

It was late Monday, and the No. 24 jersey still stayed on his back inside the arena where No. 23 won those six championships. Kobe Bryant has five titles, and this had been proposed as a season for him to chase his sixth. Bryant had made seven of 22 shots against the Bulls, gone to the free-throw line only three times.

"On me," Bryant would say again. "I've got to find a way to make shots."

Midnight passed, the Lakers bus had left the United Center, and still Bryant sat inside his locker and searched for solutions. Mostly, they were abstract, unrealistic and ultimately at the mercy of D'Antoni valuing victory over the validation of his precious system. These Lakers aren't pursuing a title, but merely the stabilization needed to secure the eighth seed in the Western Conference playoffs.

All alone in the United Center locker room, all his teammates gone, Bryant still hadn't peeled the uniform off his back. He chases ghosts in this gym. He chases the elevated immortality that comes with catching Michael Jordan. In the empty room, in the Lakers' spiral, there were no empty words about chasing a championship.

Another lost night, another embarrassing loss. Bryant stayed back and let it wash over him. Those six Bulls championship banners dangled over him, and never had they felt so distant, so unreachable. Nevertheless, Bryant stayed in the still of the room. Coldest night of the year in Chicago, and Kobe Bryant showed no inclination to hustle out into the winter of his basketball life.


gentleman, this is about to implode

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Re: Woj: KB24's frustration with Lakers' struggles grows

Postby Weezy on Tue Jan 22, 2013 4:49 am

What a mess, but at least Woj can make a great read out of it, dude is the best.
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Re: Woj: KB24's frustration with Lakers' struggles grows

Postby TaniBoyz on Tue Jan 22, 2013 5:00 am

oh boy... :man6:
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Re: Woj: KB24's frustration with Lakers' struggles grows

Postby Big Mamma Jamma on Tue Jan 22, 2013 5:35 am

I know Lakers management wouldn't do this but I would seriously fire MDA, allow Bickerstaff to finish out the season and get rid of contracts that are weighing the team down. There are teams that could use Gasol, Jamison ... anyone on the roster except for Kobe, Nash and Dwight. I know that by doing this the Lakers would be conceding the season but if Kobe is frustrated, I can just imagine how much Dwight is frustrated ... and D12 is the future of this franchise. The Lakers need to do all they can to keep D12.

MDA was a bad hire and the Lakers should just cut their losses. Live and learn that maybe next time management should do this in the off season. I still think either Phil or Sloan would have this team performing much better than MDA. The team would've defended and the offense would be more balanced instead of relying on jumpshots.

Ugh, what a season.
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Re: Woj: KB24's frustration with Lakers' struggles grows

Postby abeer3 on Tue Jan 22, 2013 6:05 am

gentleman, this is about to implode


about to?
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Re: Woj: KB24's frustration with Lakers' struggles grows

Postby ElginTheGreat on Tue Jan 22, 2013 7:42 am

abeer3 wrote:
gentleman, this is about to implode


about to?


Agreed. This thing imploded back when with whole coaching fiasco.
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Re: Woj: KB24's frustration with Lakers' struggles grows

Postby JGC on Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:56 am

I noticed that Howard being turned around on offense too. What do you expect him to do? 98 times out of 100 he's not going to get the ball in a situation where Kobe is pulling up. To pull off something like that, you need chemistry. We don't have it.

Why on earth would Kobe leave his feet to get Dwight the ball, much less, be in shooting form? That's how you're looking for Dwight Howard? Wow.

It's funny. We complained last year about not going inside to our bigs, and blamed it all on Andrew. Now we have Dwight Howard and we're having the same problem and arguably, it's even worse.

We've had the two best centers in the league, 2-3 different coaches, arguably the best on-paper backcourt in Kobe/Nash, and they still cannot figure out how to use that to our advantage. Amazing.
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Re: Woj: KB24's frustration with Lakers' struggles grows

Postby Center Court on Tue Jan 22, 2013 9:13 am

All I will say is this, there is ton of stuff Kobe said in there/and some he didn't say that I think Dwight will take great offence to...
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Re: Woj: KB24's frustration with Lakers' struggles grows

Postby JGC on Tue Jan 22, 2013 9:15 am

When will Kobe get it? His shooting percentage isn't the primary problem here. For the most part, he's been shooting ok percentage wise, and we are STILL losing. Think beyond shooting Kobester come on!
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Re: Woj: KB24's frustration with Lakers' struggles grows

Postby venky on Tue Jan 22, 2013 9:33 am

What a mess. Jimbo is running this franchise into the ground.
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Re: Woj: KB24's frustration with Lakers' struggles grows

Postby Lakerjones on Tue Jan 22, 2013 9:50 am

Great read, bad situation. D' Antoni = thus far not a smart hire. I was irate when they did it, and was even more irate about how they did it. I have been holding back most judgement here to see how this would play out, but it's completely unraveling now.

I agree with Big Mamma Jamma. If they don't start playing better in the next couple weeks I would go back to square one, can D' Antoni, ride out the season with Bernie and make moves in the offseason. Get a new coach who can actually work with your personnel, move Pau for some other players when he actually holds trade value as an expiring, try to resign Dwight.

The Lakers might have actually blown their opportunity to resign D12 because they didn't hire Phil when they could have. Dwight was excited about that, and he sure hasn't been excited about playing under Mike D.
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Re: Woj: KB24's frustration with Lakers' struggles grows

Postby WilliamHaven on Tue Jan 22, 2013 9:53 am

I hope this is death stare v. 2.0 and they get rid of MDA. Would rather have Bickerstaff at this point.
Move along ho, Super Lakers don't hang out with no skanks.
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Re: Woj: KB24's frustration with Lakers' struggles grows

Postby dwighthowardsdad on Tue Jan 22, 2013 10:36 am

Great article. Quite frankly, I feel for Kobe right now. We put this team together thinking we were going to be pursuing a championship; now, I don't believe we're making the PO's. I'm glad Kobe is trying to help Dwight through this process. We have high expectations as fans; and the media can be mericiless and unrelenting when we are this bad expecially with the talent on this roster.

I don't know if Dwight has the mental fortitude to stick it out here long-term. I think this season has been difficult for Dwight looking past our record; such as recovering from back-surgery, adjusting a number 2 option, the lack of touches/defense, all has discouraged him; maybe even to the point where he might leave. Of course that's well beyond our control.
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Re: Woj: KB24's frustration with Lakers' struggles grows

Postby pound4pound1 on Tue Jan 22, 2013 10:40 am

in the 27 years that i've followed this team, this season is by far the most disappointing one i've witnessed
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Re: Woj: KB24's frustration with Lakers' struggles grows

Postby phoenixrisingla on Tue Jan 22, 2013 11:20 am

We're done.

Great article. Also, nice to see someone hint that Dwight is getting the TOUCHES that he needs. Just because you dont produce on those touches doesnt mean its other peoples fault for not giving it to you more. :freak2:
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Re: Woj: KB24's frustration with Lakers' struggles grows

Postby kenshi1023 on Tue Jan 22, 2013 11:32 am

do it again kobe! just do it in next game then this nightmare will be all over.
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Re: Woj: KB24's frustration with Lakers' struggles grows

Postby ShowtimeACB on Tue Jan 22, 2013 12:43 pm

The part about trying to help Howard freaks me out.

Text messages, talk to him...are u kidding me?

The guy needs 13-15 fg attempts every single game, that should be a MUST, we have the best center in the league and we are just not using him.

Unbelievable.

BTW,when Howard gets 13+ fg attempts we are 8-3, jeeez he´s shooting 58% from the field and yet there are games when he shoots 5,6,7,9 field goals.

Everybody should be laughing at us.

A pure PG, who can run almost any kind of offense, a deadly scorer, and two of the best inside players in the league and 40 games into the season we just can´t figure it out.
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Re: Woj: KB24's frustration with Lakers' struggles grows

Postby Jazzygirl205 on Tue Jan 22, 2013 4:30 pm

Even if there are issues within the team, it kind of throws me back that they're all publicly not trying to conceal their issues with the system, it's like whoa this is "REALLY" real.
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Re: Woj: KB24's frustration with Lakers' struggles grows

Postby KBJelleyBean24 on Tue Jan 22, 2013 4:42 pm

ShowtimeACB wrote:The part about trying to help Howard freaks me out.

Text messages, talk to him...are u kidding me?

The guy needs 13-15 fg attempts every single game, that should be a MUST, we have the best center in the league and we are just not using him.

Unbelievable.

BTW,when Howard gets 13+ fg attempts we are 8-3, jeeez he´s shooting 58% from the field and yet there are games when he shoots 5,6,7,9 field goals.

Everybody should be laughing at us.

A pure PG, who can run almost any kind of offense, a deadly scorer, and two of the best inside players in the league and 40 games into the season we just can´t figure it out.

Really hard to shoot the ball when you're turning it over 5+ times a game and teams foul because they know you'll brick/airball free throws. Offense isn't the problem, it's chemistry. A lot of games have been really close and the Lakers let it slip away due to either bad defense due to nobody talking to each other and/or bad offense because once again it's up to Kobe to bail out the team, that just doesn't work anymore.
I should get an assist for that. It's an intentional pass to oneself, so it's an assist. That way people can't say all I do is shoot.
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Re: Woj: KB24's frustration with Lakers' struggles grows

Postby phoenixrisingla on Tue Jan 22, 2013 4:55 pm

KBJelleyBean24 wrote:
ShowtimeACB wrote:The part about trying to help Howard freaks me out.

Text messages, talk to him...are u kidding me?

The guy needs 13-15 fg attempts every single game, that should be a MUST, we have the best center in the league and we are just not using him.

Unbelievable.

BTW,when Howard gets 13+ fg attempts we are 8-3, jeeez he´s shooting 58% from the field and yet there are games when he shoots 5,6,7,9 field goals.

Everybody should be laughing at us.

A pure PG, who can run almost any kind of offense, a deadly scorer, and two of the best inside players in the league and 40 games into the season we just can´t figure it out.

Really hard to shoot the ball when you're turning it over 5+ times a game and teams foul because they know you'll brick/airball free throws. Offense isn't the problem, it's chemistry. A lot of games have been really close and the Lakers let it slip away due to either bad defense due to nobody talking to each other and/or bad offense because once again it's up to Kobe to bail out the team, that just doesn't work anymore.


And you know what?

This may not be popular on here, but I think offense IS part of Dwight's problem. I just cant understand this dude.

Despite being probably the best P&R big in the league, he says (and plays as if) he doesn't want to do P&R.

He wants it in the post. Where he doesnt know how (or isnt willing to work) to get good position, has ZERO post moves, gets stripped 1 of 3 times he gathers, cant make good passes out (because he's so concerned about touches and getting his shot) and is instantly fouled if he DOES manage to get position because he refuses to shore up a huge deficiency in his game (FT's).

Dude's offense SUCKS right now. lol :freak2:
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Re: Woj: KB24's frustration with Lakers' struggles grows

Postby Maluco Beleza on Tue Jan 22, 2013 5:34 pm

come on guys d12 has been getting the BALL ALOT

REMEMBER THEY DONT COUNT SHOT ATTEMPTS WHEN HE GETS GRABBED AND FOULED WHICH HE DOES ALOT AND ANYWAYS ALOT OF TIMES HE GETS STRIPPED SO WHY BOTHER OR HE CANT HIT A 1 FT SHOT FOR HIS LIFE. THATS ON HIM.
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Re: Woj: KB24's frustration with Lakers' struggles grows

Postby Maluco Beleza on Tue Jan 22, 2013 5:34 pm

COUNT HOW MANY TOUCHES HE GETS INSTEAD OF SHOT ATTEMPTS.....

THEN LOOK AT WHAT HE DOES. DOES HE GET A SHOT OFF? A GOOD SHOT? DOES HE PASS IT OFF? DOES HE GET GRABBED AND FOULED OR DOES HE TURN IT OVER????????
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Re: Woj: KB24's frustration with Lakers' struggles grows

Postby lakersin4 on Tue Jan 22, 2013 6:08 pm

He may be the best center in the league, but he's not even the best post player on this team. The guy we've been scapegoating all season & want out of here makes him look like a rookie in the post. For Dwight to get the touches he wants, we need to have 4 shooters out there standing on the perimeter so he can have the entire paint to himself & let him play 1 on 1 all the time. Seems like every time there's an extra defender near him he gets stripped. With the roster we have, running the offense through Dwight is a recipe for further disappointment.
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Re: Woj: KB24's frustration with Lakers' struggles grows

Postby cthroatgtr on Tue Jan 22, 2013 6:36 pm

Let's face it this team is awful. Dwight is so limited. I believe now he survived solely on athleticism and just losing a bit of that exposed his lack of any real skill. No post game. Can hold onto the ball. Nash is done. Teams have decided that Kobe is the only real scorer on the team. Keep him in check and the team is done. Pau won't hurt you being the worlds largest SF.

Lots of blame to go around but it starts with the coach. In his time here he alienated Pau, destroyed Meeks & Ebanks as serviceable players and lucked into Clark (like he did with Lin last year). He is forcing a system that doesn't fit this team at all. Sound familiar? I bet if you looked at Knick threads from last year about the same thing.

I would cut loose D'antoni, consider ANY sensible offer for any player on this team and blow this thing up. I would rather have Christie, Peeler & Van Exel back where at least you had some effort. Del Harris is a friggin genius next to D'antoni & Brown.

Worst part is they gave away two number 1s for Nash and they are going to be high picks by the look of things.
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Re: Woj: KB24's frustration with Lakers' struggles grows

Postby kobe_mamba on Tue Jan 22, 2013 6:37 pm

lakersin4 wrote:He may be the best center in the league, but he's not even the best post player on this team. The guy we've been scapegoating all season & want out of here makes him look like a rookie in the post. For Dwight to get the touches he wants, we need to have 4 shooters out there standing on the perimeter so he can have the entire paint to himself & let him play 1 on 1 all the time. Seems like every time there's an extra defender near him he gets stripped. With the roster we have, running the offense through Dwight is a recipe for further disappointment.


Quoted For Truth.

When the D12 trade was made, it almost came as a shock by that stage after what had been so much talk and hype. I was initially a little hesitant to be happy about it. I ALWAYS rated Bynum and was sad to see him go. But then I thought, hey this is D12, this is Dwight Freakin' Howard we are talking about here!!! Now back problems and fitness aside - up until the last loss against Chicago I have been making excuses for D12, but enough is enough. Then I see today that D12 is making digs at Kobe Bryant behind his back in the sheds and already complaining about touches. Wow. Not cool man, not cool.

After the Chicago loss and looking at Pau's production off the bench, I honestly thought, you know what I might have been looking at this from the wrong angle. Yes, Pau has regressed and no, he's nowhere near as athletic or powerful or as youthful as Dwight - but he's still got the passion and the hunger AND he still has a post game to go with it, and a passing game and a rebounding game.

Maybe, just maybe, the Lakers are actually better off without D12 and his sulking, laughing, showboating and all-round couldn't give an eff attitude towards winning?! There was another game recently when D12, Pau and Hill were all injured, Hill was in street clothes and was sitting next to D12. Lakers losing again (may have been against Spurs) and Kobe went to the bench late and was fuming, scowling, seething.......D12, well he was sitting at the end of the bench laughing it up, having a great old time as if he didn't have a care in the world. This did not impress me very much at all.......

So yesterday I thought maybe, we do trade D12. End this now and see who we can get for him before he possibly does walk at the end of the season for nothing?! Roll with Pau as the No 1 C on the team - because let's face it, now more than ever Pau is a C not a PF......and still has game. Still has the hunger.

PS. I am openly saying all this AFTER thinking that Pau was of little use to the Lakers for almost 2 years now. Perhaps I have been wrong? Hell, Kobe Bryant still rates Pau Gasol.....??? Right now there is no Bynum and D12 is turning out to be a disaster on this team, so you have to look at all options.

Also......I openly ranked MDA as 5th best option as Coach of this team on this forum after the Lakers fired MB. No guesses for whom I had atop my list of possible/probable candidates huh....

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